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Several accidents tie up Thanksgiving weekend traffic

November 27, 2011

Several traffic incidents were reported Sunday, with several along westbound Interstate 70, as traffic was heavy with people returning home after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

911 officials in the local Tri-State area didn’t have any major accidents to report Sunday as of 9 p.m.

Maryland State Police responded to several accidents Sunday morning and early afternoon, said Sgt. T.J. McKenrick with the Hagerstown barrack of the Maryland State Police.

McKenrick didn’t want to make any predictions regarding traffic Sunday night, but said the high volume of holiday traffic increases the chance of accidents.

AAA had forecast that 42.5 million Americans would travel 50 miles or more from home this past holiday weekend, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic’s website.

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Things usually calm down on Monday morning, McKenrick said.

Before Sunday, at least four people died on the roads in the local Tri-State area since Thanksgiving traffic began Wednesday.

Among Sunday’s accidents were three on westbound I-70 that occurred within three miles of each other, just east of Hagerstown, late Sunday morning, according to Washington County Emergency Services.

A two-vehicle fender-bender near the 35 mile-marker was reported at 11:35 a.m. Sunday, a 911 dispatcher said.

Three minutes before that, at 11:32 a.m., a five-vehicle accident was reported at the 36 mile marker, a 911 dispatcher said. That accident was at the bottom of the mountain near Crystal Falls Drive.

At 10:48 a.m., an accident occurred just east of the U.S. 40 exit, near Hagerstown, that originally was reported to have about 12 vehicles involved, but police and 911 reported that only five vehicles were involved in the wreck that occurred in the fast lane, state police said. Witnesses might have been in the other vehicles, police said.

At times traffic slowed or was backed up as state police would close a lane of I-70 or Interstate 81 due to traffic accidents.

The fast lane of southbound I-81, just south of the U.S. 11 exit to Williamsport, was briefly shut down around 3:10 p.m. Sunday due to a two-vehicle accident, according to Washington County Emergency Services.

The fast lane of westbound I-70 just before Myersville, Md., was closed for at least an hour after a three-vehicle accident reported around 12:14 p.m. Sunday, according to state police in Frederick County, Md. One person was taken to Meritus Medical Center from that accident, police said.

Reported traffic fatalities during the holiday weekend were:

— Two Frederick residents died and eight others were injured Saturday morning after the driver of a Chevrolet 3500 van failed to control his speed on eastbound I-70 and hit the rear of a Toyota Corolla. The Corolla spun out of control into the median. The crash led to a chain reaction involving four other vehicles.

The two people who died — Selly Tle Sin Kai, 33, and Anis Mawi, 46 — were rear-seat passengers in the Corolla and neither had their seat belts on at the time of the crash.

The accident occurred just before 5 a.m. Saturday when traffic was stopped due to an unrelated incident several miles ahead at the New Market scale house.

— A Charles Town, W.Va., man was killed Thursday afternoon when his car was struck by a pickup truck on U.S. 340 at Keep Tryst Road in southern Washington County.

Robert Matthew Michalak, 70, was traveling north on Keep Tryst Road at 2:46 p.m. Thursday when witnesses said the car failed to come to a complete stop at a flashing red signal at the intersection with U.S. 340, where the pickup hit the driver’s door of the car.

— The driver of a car that had been reported stolen in Virginia was killed after the car left northbound Interstate 270 around 9 p.m. Wednesday. The car went through a guardrail, down an embankment, hit several trees and burst into flames. State police had not released the name of the driver.

— Julie E. Greene
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